Terry Case Study: Kendall Valdry

Economics and international business major Kendall Valdry works to build connections on campus and around Athens
Kendall Valdry stands in a hallway in front of a Terry College of Business centennial timeline wall display at the UGA Business Learning Community
Terry major Kendall Valdry poses for a portrait on Campus.

Kendall Valdry 
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia  
High School: Hillgrove High School Class of 2020
UGA Honors Program, majoring in Economics and International Business

Why did you decide to come to UGA? 

I decided to come to UGA because I loved the school spirit and sense of community the school had. I remember getting a postcard from a former alumnus who shared a bit of their story, and encouraged me to come here. I appreciated that personal touch and after coming for a visit, this seemed like a place that pours into students both academically and personally.

What made you decide to pursue economics and international business? 

Economics interested me in high school, and it seemed like a field of study that would provide a lot of career opportunities in the private and public sectors — which interested me. I appreciated how economics presented a big picture and a more focused lens into how the economy works. I decided on international business because I wanted to learn more about how business is conducted in our globalized world. I considered pursuing international job opportunities and wanted to know what kind of business acumen I would have to have to be successful. Additionally, I had never left the country and wanted to explore more about the world through a business context.

Do you have plans after graduation? 

I will be working for Bain & Company, a management consulting firm in Washington, D.C. I interned at the DC office this past summer and enjoyed my time, so I look forward to going back full-time.

What class or teacher has made the biggest impact on the way you see the world or your plans after graduation? 

ECON 4550, International Trade Policy, was one of the most impactful classes I’ve taken. This class was one of the most challenging classes regarding the amount of coursework, but I look back and am grateful for how much I learned. One reason why I enjoyed it so much was it was a perfect intersection of my majors, economics and international business. Additionally, we learned about the importance and economic reasoning behind international trade. During the semester, we got to dissect the impacts of the Suez Canal backup, the implications of war on international trade, and how international trade is always the better option than closing borders. I’ve been able to have great conversations with people in my life about trade because of this class and found I have been able to make direct connections between that course and politics, which has been fascinating. I gained a better understanding of just how interconnected the world is and how an isolated incident in one part of the world is not as isolated as we think due to the level of globalization.

What is your most memorable UGA memory?

I am a big football fan, so my most memorable UGA memory was the Tennessee football game last season. It was a day when campus was buzzing, and everyone was so excited for the game. I attended College Gameday, then went to the game with a group of friends. I don’t think Sanford Stadium has ever been louder than that Saturday. It was so fun to cheer on the dawgs with 92,000 friends, even in the pouring rain.

Why has Women in Economics been so important for you while at Terry? 

Women in Economics (WiE) provides a space for women on campus to come together and learn from professionals in different business areas. As a freshman who didn’t know what I wanted to do, I learned a lot about the plethora of opportunities out there, and it confirmed I had chosen the right major. I enjoyed being a part of the organization and decided to apply for a leadership position my junior year, ultimately becoming the VP of Finance. WiE is a big organization, so we try to have events outside of professional events for members to get to know each other and foster a sense of community.I was able to make great friends through this org that I have been able to take classes with, which has been so fun.

How did you get involved with UGA’s extended student orientation program, Dawg Camp?

I was a Dawg Camp counselor my freshman year. As a COVID freshman, I think part of my decision to get involved was trying to find a sense of community. I had a friend who thought I would enjoy it because it was a way to make friends and feel connected to UGA. And I was like, ‘OK, awesome.’

And it was awesome.

The whole idea of Dawg Camp is to help students coming to college learn who they are, what they want to do in college, and who they want to become in college. But it also fosters deep friendships among the students. This is a big school. We thought a lot about how to make the school feel smaller and help students feel more connected. During my sophomore year, I was a student coordinator for Dawg Camp — so my role was slightly different, but I was still helping to foster that sense of community amongst the group. I loved being a Dawg Camp counselor and member of the leadership team, and I made some incredible friends that I’m still close with today.

What is The Backpack Project, and why is it important to you? 

The Backpack Project meets each Saturday to make meals and distribute them to individuals experiencing homelessness around the Athens community. The summer after my sophomore year I became a summer staff member because I stayed in Athens. As a part of summer staff, I helped to keep the weekly meal delivery going  when there were fewer students here. That’s when I felt truly connected and started to feel the impact of working with the community regularly. 

I think it’s easy for us as students to live on campus and stay insulated, but it’s important to realize there’s a greater community we need to be respectful of and take care of while we’re here. That’s one reason why I decided to join. And the other has to do with the general fear of those experiencing homelessness. I wanted to grow out of that discomfort and understand these are people living alongside me in this city, and have their own personalities and interests. This organization enabled me to give back to the city that’s given me so much — it’s given me amazing friends, a fantastic education, and great community. I don’t want to take advantage of that, so I’m trying to give back and be intentional about belonging here.

It seems like you’ve spent a lot of time at UGA making sure everyone feels a sense of community at UGA. Why do you think that is? 

My family moved between my sophomore and junior years of high school, and from that experience, I learned the importance of being included. Also, I missed out on a lot in my last year of high school due to COVID, so when I came to college, I was even more excited to foster a sense of community for myself, and over time learned the importance of doing that for others. Being a COVID freshman, we were all so sequestered in our dorms and in this weird bubble, and I was yearning for community, and I realized I have a passion for helping other people gain that sense of connection.

You’ve mentioned a few times the impact that the COVID-19 impact had on your time at UGA. How do you think coming to campus during the pandemic changed you as a person or impacted your goals?

Coming to campus during the pandemic made me more intentional with my friendships and every moment in college. I became more aware of the fleeting nature of things. I tried to push myself to get the most out of every class I took, every friendship I made, and generally every experience available to me. I think my determination grew and this led me to achieve some incredible things and make unforgettable memories.